It’s January 2nd. Have you failed to stay true to your New Year’s resolutions yet? Don’t worry, it’s coming. I don’t want to be a wet blanket, Debbie Downer, or Pessimistic Pete, but chances are you’re not going to run a marathon in 2012, read through the Bible twice…a month, save the whales, and become President. Is it possible? I suppose, but the safe bet is on failure.
Fret not, you’re in good company. Paul missed the mark on a few of his spiritual resolutions. In Romans 7 he wrote, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Can I get a witness? Ever been there before? Even our best intentions can end in bitter failure. Paul isn’t talking about his new exercise program, he’s discussing his spiritual life. He paints a bleak picture.
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:15-24 ESV)
Something tells me Tony Robbins is not asking Paul to teach him how to unleash the power within or how to create his own breakthrough. Paul’s message is sober-even a tad bit depressing. It makes me want to find a corner and grab a box of Hostess Ding Dongs. While his message may be sober, it’s not without hope.
“Who will deliver me from this body of death?” He writes, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ. Jesus came to do something we couldn’t. He was the faithful one.
Resolutions are good. It’s wise to plan. Life change is possible. You’re not a slave to old habits, despite the fact they die hard. But remember when you fail that Jesus came to save you from your sin and failure. He came because given all the time in the world we would not clean ourselves up enough to be good enough. He came so we don’t have to be. This is very good news. Thanks be to God through Christ!